Worldwide sales of sheet music exports by country totaled US$103.5 million in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -5.3% drop for all sheet music shippers over the five-year period starting in 2014. From 2017 to 2018, the value of globally exported sheet music dropped in value by -10%.
Among continents, Europe sold the most exported sheet music on international markets during 2018 with shipments valued at $75.7 million or 73.1% of the global total. In second place were North American exporters at 19.6% while 4.9% of worldwide sheet music shipments originated from Asia. Smaller percentages came from Africa (1.9%), Latin America (0.4%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Australia in Oceania (0.01%).
The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for sheet music is 4904. For HTS classification purposes, sheet music includes song books and other manuscripts.
Sheet Music Exports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of sheet music during 2018.
- Germany: US$27.3 million (26.3% of exported sheet music)
- United Kingdom: $20.4 million (19.7%)
- Netherlands: $19.4 million (18.8%)
- United States: $19 million (18.4%)
- Japan: $3.5 million (3.4%)
- South Africa: $2 million (1.9%)
- France: $2 million (1.9%)
- Poland: $1.4 million (1.4%)
- Austria: $1.3 million (1.2%)
- Canada: $1.2 million (1.1%)
- Switzerland: $1 million (1%)
- Czech Republic: $768,000 (0.7%)
- Malaysia: $743,000 (0.7%)
- China: $591,000 (0.6%)
- Italy: $514,000 (0.5%)
By value, the listed 15 countries were responsible for 97.7% of all sheet music exports in 2018.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing exporters of sheet music since 2014 were: South Africa (up 12,419%), Czech Republic (up 604.6%), Poland (up 144.3%) and Netherlands (up 96%).
Those countries that posted declines in their exported sheet music sales were led by: Italy (down -88.3%), France (down -37.3%), United Kingdom (down -36.6%), China (down -24.5%) and Switzerland (down -24.2%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for sheet music during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported sheet music and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- United Kingdom: US$13.5 million (net export surplus down -42.4% since 2014)
- Germany: $12.9 million (down -0.5%)
- United States: $10.6 million (down -25.6%)
- Netherlands: $6.2 million (down -11.1%)
- South Africa: $1.5 million (reversing a -$517,000 deficit)
- Croatia: $421,000 (up 78.4%)
- Russia: $338,000 (up 179.3%)
- Poland: $265,000 (down -31.9%)
- Czech Republic: $131,000 (reversing a -$43,000 deficit)
- Hungary: $79,000 (down -66.4%)
- Bhutan: $8,000 (no 2014 data)
- Mongolia: $8,000 (no 2014 data)
The United Kingdom had the highest surplus in the international trade of sheet music. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms the UK’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for sheet music during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported sheet music purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- Austria: -US$7.5 million (net export deficit up 59.2% since 2014)
- Canada: -$6.6 million (down -24.7%)
- Hong Kong: -$4.8 million (up 33.5%)
- France: -$3.8 million (down -2.6%)
- Australia: -$2.4 million (down -20.5%)
- Spain: -$2.1 million (down -36.4%)
- Switzerland: -$2 million (up 22.4%)
- Singapore: -$1.5 million (down -11.3%)
- South Korea: -$1.1 million (down -15.3%)
- Malaysia: -$763,000 (down -18.7%)
- Mexico: -$744,000 (up 60.3%)
- New Zealand: -$615,000 (up 13.3%)
- Indonesia: -$545,000 (down -37.9%)
- India: -$482,000 (reversing a $24,000 surplus)
- Taiwan: -$457,000 (down -14.9%)
Austria incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of sheet music. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Austria’s competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for sheet music-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.
Sheet Music Exporting Companies
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following are sheet music publishers. The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses
- Alfred Music (United States)
- Bärenreiter (Germany)
- Casa Ricordi (Italy)
- Doberman-Yppan (Canada)
- Edition Wilhelm Hansen (Denmark)
- Faber Music (United Kingdom)
- Hal Leonard Corporation (United States)
- International Music Publications (United Kingdom)
- LearnToPlayMusic.com (Australia)
- Polish Music Publishing House (Poland)
Among the companies listed above, Milwaukee-headquartered firm Hal Leonard Corporation is the world’s largest sheet music publisher.
See also Top Piano Exporters by Country, Top Headphones Exporters and Top Video Games Exports by Country
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 6, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 6, 2019
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 6, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 6, 2019
Wikipedia, Sheet music. Accessed on June 18, 2018
Wikipedia, Category:Sheet music publishing companies. Accessed on June 18, 2018